And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
Day 1 began with quite possibly the first words St. Dominic Savio spoke to St. Don Bosco; today we begin with God’s very first words in all of salvation history. When God speaks, he speaks with force and power! BOOM! An explosion of light lit up the cosmos!
Speaking of light, let’s consider our massive sun for a moment. Over a million Earths would fit into the sun, which has a diameter of almost a million miles. As impressive and unique as the sun seems, the Milky Way Galaxy contains an estimated 2 to 3 billion stars just like it!
For the next three paragraphs, I’m going to borrow some information from “The Evidential Power of Beauty”, one of many great works by Fr. Thomas Dubay. For example, if you go to the beach and pick up a hand full of sand, ten thousand grains of sand lie within your grasp. Taking all the grains of sand on all the beaches across the entire earth, there would still be more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the face of the Earth. By the breath of his mouth, he spoke them into existence with just a short phrase (see Psalm 147:4). God’s Word is a powerful force!
But we’re not done considering light just yet! Given light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles/second, it takes a sun ray eight minutes to reach our skin. Putting some of our best technology to work, it would take a jet plane (traveling at 500 mph) 18 years to cover this same distance! Meanwhile, light is busy circling the Earth about seven times a second. Let’s say we decided to get a little ambitious and fly our jet plane to the next closest star, Proxima Centauri. At roughly four light years from Earth, the estimated time of arrival would be about 5.5 million years. And for the really adventurous that want to make the trek across the diameter of our galaxy...100,000 million years.
Finally, stepping into the realm of almost incomprehensibility, our "known" universe spans an estimated 12-15 billion light years and continues to grow. Modern science now projects approximately 50 billion galaxies exist in the universe and each of them with potentially 2-4 billion stars. To date, scientists have discovered a star 500 times the size of the sun, and another, with 6.5 million times the brightness of the sun!
As we take a moment to exhale, I dare to say that the vastness of the universe and awesome splendor of God’s creation leaves many of us speechless, in complete awe and wonder of all that he has created. These very first words, “Let there be light”, suddenly carry with them a dynamic power and mighty force so unimaginable that we are left in complete humility, gasping for air.
Just one chapter later, we read God’s first three words ever spoken to man. With this new disposition and appreciation, I leave you to contemplate another simple phrase spoken with that same divine power: “You are free…” (Gen 2:16)